Bella - Promotions at Death, Inc. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Promotions at Death, Inc. [1087 words] Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Aneurysm ambling toward my desk with two cups of Starbuck’s coffee. God love him, he was always looking out for me. I leaned back in my chair and stretched my legs lazily under my desk. “Ahh, my savior,” I said, reaching for the cup. Aneurysm sat on the corner of my desk, facing me, and took a long swallow from his own cup. “These meetings are so boring,” he said, wiping the foam from his mouth. “We’ve gotta have something.” I nodded and scratched my arm. “That’s the truth. But it’s been awful waiting on this one. I think Death is announcing promotions today.” “No kidding?” “Well, that’s what I heard. You know how mysterious he can be.” “Well, if anyone is due, you are. I hope you get it,” Aneurysm said, and I could tell he meant it. “Thanks, man. I’ve been dropping some serious hints about becoming Head Trauma. I’m probably kidding myself, though.” Aneurysm gave a low whistle. “Head Trauma? Damn. That’s really---“ “Hi, Aneurysm. Hi, Syphilis. What’s up, guys?” Dream Falling was suddenly next to the desk, grinning widely and clutching a clipboard to his chest. I resisted the urge to groan out loud and exchanged quick looks with Aneurysm. “Not much, Dream Falling. What’s up with you?” “Oh, you know, busy, busy. You on your way to the meeting? You’d better head that way before all the seats are taken. Plus, Obesity brought in some doughnuts. They’re delicious. I already had three. Well, see you there?” Dream Falling cocked his head quizzically. Aneurysm nodded. “You go ahead. We’ll be right there.” Dream Falling pushed thick glasses up his nose and shuffled off. Shaking his head, Aneurysm scoffed. “What a wannabe. God, he annoys me.” I nodded. “Yeah. I mean, what’s he busy with? Nobody ever hits the ground. He hasn’t completed a job yet!” “Total slacker.” I sighed and stood up, straightening my tie. “Ah, hell. Who am I to talk anyway? Back when I first graduated, I was ready to end the world. I was killing off Earthlies left and right. Important Earthlies, too! It’s been decades since I’ve really made a difference. I should just hang it up. Me and Dream Falling--we’re a pair.” “Nah, man. Don’t say that. You’ve just had a slump. Hell, medical advances have set everyone back. Even the big boys. You just need a change of scenery, is all.” Aneurysm looked down at his cup and shook his head. “Head Trauma. That would be kick ass. We could maybe even work together a little.” “Don’t jinx me, dude. I’m nervous enough as it is.” Hypothermia walked by and I took in her crisp white shirt and blue pencil skirt. She carried a portfolio in one hand and a thermal cup in the other. Aneurysm caught her eye and smiled. “Hey,” he said in a deep voice I didn’t recognize. She stopped and regarded him without smiling. “Hey yourself. How’s it going?” “Just fine. Headed to the meeting?” “I am. Do you want me to save you a seat?” She coyly brushed her white blonde hair from her eyes. “Sure, that would be good. Thanks.” I could tell Aneurysm was doing cartwheels inside. “Hey, Hypothermia,” I said eagerly. Her eyes scanned me for a millisecond. “Syphilis” She nodded and then turned away toward the conference room. “That’s another reason I have to get this!” I wailed when she was out of earshot. “Women hate me!” “They don’t hate you.” I narrowed my eyes at him. “Okay, that’s not the point. You’ll get it. Don’t worry.” “Let’s just go.” I picked up a notepad, a pen, and my coffee and followed Aneurysm into the immaculately decorated black and chrome room. Several people were already milling about and murmuring. I waved to Alcohol Poisoning, who lazily waved back and then hiccupped. In the corner, Electrocution and Drowning seemed to be in a heated debate over the conductivity of saltwater, while Crossfire was patting them both on the shoulder, saying “Ladies, ladies. You’re both right.” Aneurysm slid into the chair next to Hypothermia, and I sat down next to him. Dream Falling immediately grabbed the seat on my other side and pushed a doughnut in front of me. “I’m anxious to hear about promotions today, aren’t you?” he asked conspiratorially. “Uh, yeah, I guess.” I tried to act nonchalant. “I wonder if they’ll bump me up to something with more action,” he said. “Well, I hear there’s an opening after Black Plague retires,” I said with a half-smile. “Really?” his eyes lit up. “That would be great.” Geez, he was a moron. I turned away from him and listened to Aneurysm’s attempts at flirtation, until Death finally entered and took the head seat. Everyone fell into silence. “I have some exciting news today,” began Death. “I think you would all agree that we need a fresh approach, a new perspective. For some time now, I’ve had a consulting group working to develop new ways to die. Things that have not been slowed down by technology and education. It wasn’t easy, but they have come up with a brilliant idea.” He looked around the room, meeting everyone’s eye to convey the gravity of this discovery. “It’s brilliant,” he continued, “because it is something that Earthlies have contemplated as a means of death for years, but they have done nothing to prevent it!” Everyone looked at each other in confusion. “We will need a whole team on this to get it started, and I have thought long and hard about who should lead this effort. Syphilis,” he looked at me and everyone else spun their head in my direction. My heart started to pound. “You are a loyal, hard worker, and I know that you have been passed over for promotion many times. Thank you for being so patient.” “No problem, sir,” I croaked. “This will be a huge undertaking. Do you think you are up for it?” My thoughts were swirling. I could barely contain my excitement. “Of course, sir! I’ll do my best.” “Great. This new form of death will be…..” We all leaned forward expectantly. “Death by Chocolate.” There was a collective intake of breath and everyone sat back in their chairs to consider the ramifications of such an affliction. I glanced around at my colleagues and caught Hypothermia’s eye. The corners of her mouth upturned slightly and she winked. Sweet.